Project Description

Society’s biggest challenges won’t be solved by government, not-for-profits or communities alone. Successfully addressing these complex social, environmental and economic challenges requires an ecosystem approach that enables key stakeholders, whole communities, academics, entrepreneurs and innovators to come together and cocreate replicable and scalable solutions.

In 2016, Doing Something Good ran a 10 week accelerator program for ventures and community projects aimed at making Melbourne’s food system healthy, sustainable, secure, resilient and socially inclusive. Building on a program of events that started with the EcoCity Food Forum in 2013, the second Local Food Launchpad program in 2016 worked with 15 participants to develop 11 concepts that hold the potential to improve our food system and build a better food future for the people of Melbourne. This is one of them.

Learn more about the 2016 Local Food Launchpad here. Discover other Local Food Launchpad projects here.

How might we make shopping at farmers’ markets so easy and enjoyable that more people are buying their fresh produce locally rather than buying at the supermarket?

Farmers’ Feed

The real fresh food people

The big issuetwo-giants-78

The key systemic social/environmental issue you are addressing and why it is important. Your why/purpose.

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Understanding the needs of potential customers

We believe that if we can better understand the needs and behaviours of existing and potential farmer’s market shoppers, beyond shallow survey results, we can gain insights that help us to develop and implement innovative experiences that will change the way people think and act when shopping for food.

Our big idea

We are planning to create and implement a month long farmers’ market event in the city of Melbourne to prototype innovative shopping experiences, conduct research and test assumptions around consumer behaviour. Prototype experiences could include things like, evening markets or markets that run later into the afternoon, markets indoors, markets at primary schools, a bigger brunch / dining offer, a digital location map / reminder service, festival launch day with chef’s and food education, farmers’ market tram… the possibilities are endless.

Where we started

I started with Farmers’ Feed an initiative where people buy and shop solely for one week at a farmers’ market. This worked when speaking to the converted, but was missed by the wider population of shoppers. My next idea was to have a festival to launch the event, as everyone loves a “foodie” event…

 More than two thirds of Australians wish that there were more opportunities to purchase locally made products and produce in their area.

What we learned

I went out and spoke to people and identified 4 key segments, which I’ve titled: Dedicated (3-4 times per month), Regular (once a month), Visitor (several times per year), Recruit (yet to shop at farmers’ markets) and identified three key pain points; Variety, Convenience, Knowing how, where, when and why farmers’ markets… I learnt that an event on its own was just  going to be fun day out – it isn’t going to cause a change in behavior – we need to find out what our consumers want when shopping local so we can better meet their needs.

What’s next

Lock in a month for 2017, which after research and consultation with the Victorian Farmers’ Market Association and the Melbourne Farmers’ Markets is identified as the key month to drive this shift. With winter being a slow time for farmers’ markets, this might be ideal. We then require grants to undertake further customer research to formulate a plan of events during that month to address consumers key pain points and assess the successes.

What we need

Partnership with key stakeholders within the Farmers’ Market Associations, Councils and Producers to formulate a team to tackle this project. Grants to engage people to undertake research, frameworks, monitoring and reporting. Funding to create a marketing campaign and material to run the event and collaboration with associated businesses to support the event such as chef’s, cafes and restaurants.

A little about me

Debbie Ferris I’m Creative Director for a small branding agency called Red Robyn which constantly inspires and drives me to support and connect with local business. For the past 10 years I have experienced the challenges small business face and how crucial their survival is on our way of life, the economy and the community. Several years ago, for health reasons, I reviewed the way I ate and discovered how crucial clean, safe, eating is for our wellbeing – I have since lost over 30kg and am all too aware of the  disastrous impact of what we buy in supermarkets can have on our health if we aren’t acutely aware. We have such an abundant, vibrant nation, and refuse to have the simple act of choosing what and how we eat dictated by giant corporation. I want to see a social change in the way we think, interact, sell and shop for food.

Like to know more or want to work with us? Please get in touch.

Our website

Email Debbie at

Phone Debbie on 0423 160 626